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OSS

The SPIT Side of Optical

2:55 PM -- Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) is working its way into more networking conversations. It even came up during some talks at this week's Packet-Optical Transport Evolution conference in New York.

Margaret Chiosi, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) executive director for intelligent, high-speed optical networking, stressed that OSS and IT are what it takes to make the "intelligent" part come true. Human intervention leads to human errors; it's better if the network can handle control functions. "Our forte is really not IT," she said. "The more the network can do IT things, the better."

And Zouheir Mansourati, VP of technology strategy for Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T), used his keynote to go on a minor rant about SPIT and OSS. "OSS has been suffering from neglect, if you like, and I think it's time to give it a bit more attention," he said.

It's a more important topic to him than 100 Gbit/s. "Everyone will have 100 Gbit/s sooner or later. I would like to hear more on the OSS side."

One key element he sees missing: a unified control plane, one with a view into the packet and optical worlds. Vendors aren't investing in such a thing, he told Light Reading after his talk.

Cooperation across the packet/optical gap will be crucial there, he said. Packet and optical companies would have to work together. Companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) are arguably on both sides, but that doesn't help, because no carrier uses Cisco for every type of technology.

I'd separately note that Cyan Optics Inc. and Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) seem to have the tools for a unified control plane, but neither company is talking about doing such a thing yet. (It might be in their best interests to do so, depending on what kind of R&D investment it takes.) (See Extreme Puts Soapstone to Work and Cyan Plays God With Optical.)

Until someone starts working on the control plane that Mansourati wants, he'll come to events like ours and try to convince vendors to work on it. But he knows that's not going to be enough. "It will happen truly when service providers get together and force it," he told me.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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